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740 (Q50, V40) - My journey

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740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 27 Sep 2008, 17:50
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[Edit - AWA score added; some updates to Math, RC and AWA sections]

Scored a 740 (97 percentile) 5.5 AWA on my GMAT earlier today. While this is a good score, I'm not sure if it'll do for some of the top 10 colleges that I'm looking to apply (given my competitive applicant pool)

Most of my preparation was over the last 4-5 weeks, though I've been lurking around this forum for a few months now. Hats off to everyone who has contributed so much to this forum. Special thanks to walker and maratikus -- check out some of their quant posts -- their insight into some of the harder math problems is brilliant.


Resources used
OG11, MGMAT SC guide, GMATClub math challenges


Practice scores
GMATPrep1 (1) 670 (no prep - sometime in march - breakdown probably around Q48, V34?)
MGMAT CAT1 700 (Q49, V36)
MGMAT CAT2 710 (Q48, V39)
MGMAT CAT3 720 (Q50, V37)
MGMAT CAT4 720 (Q51, V37)
MGMAT CAT5 730 (Q50, V39)
Kaplan Free Online CAT 700 (Q: 35/37; V: 33/41)
GMATPrep1 (2) 740 (Q49, V41)
GMATPrep2 (1) 730 (Q50, V38)
GMATPrep2 (2) 760 (Q50, V42)
GMATPrep1 (3) 760 (Q50, V41)
Actual GMAT 740 (Q50, V40, AWA 5.5)


GMAT Club challenges (http://www.gmatclub.com/wiki/tests)
Test Correct Total % Correct Percentile
m01 29 37 78.4% 84.3%
m02 36 37 97.3% 100.0%
m03 34 37 91.9% 97.0%
m04 29 37 78.4% 77.6%
m05 31 37 83.8% 94.7%
m06 29 36 80.6% 89.7%
m07 31 37 83.8% 90.5%
m08 28 37 75.7% 86.4%


Math
I didn't spend a lot of time preparing for Math. Most of my practise was through CATs and GmatClub math challenges. On D-Day, once the quant section was over, I knew I was hitting a 50 or 51. I found it to be much easier than GMATPrep.

I highly recommend the GMATClub challenges. Along with GMATPrep, this is very representative of harder questions on the GMAT. The challenges' questions test your basics to the core, and often combine multiple concepts (difficulty level around 49-51 on the real test). The authors have also done an excellent job of explaining solutions succinctly.

On the other hand, the math in MGMAT CATs is not representative at all. Their answer explanations are good though -- so definitely read them.

I feel a good portion of the math questions in OG11 are in the 600-700 bucket. The ones towards the end are definitely a notch harder.

For a list of in-scope topics, refer OG11. Only got 1 problem on combinations, so wouldn't recommend spending a lot of time on it. Number theory, however, is a must. This includes problems around prime numbers, inequalities, mean/median (IMO the most important topics), fractions (for instance, understand properties of x, x^2, x^3 etc for positive and negative fractions). Also understand the concept of slopes (as well as x and y intercepts) and triangles in geometry.


Verbal
SC -- It doesn't get any better than Manhattan GMAT's SC guide. Read this a few times over. Also solve all questions from their online question bank, and be sure to read and understand solutions for the ones you missed. I find their explanations to be very well written. For all difficult OG11 questions (last 50 or so), read their solutions and understand them thoroughly.

RC -- Most questions fall under 2 buckets -- "According to the passage" and "Inferred". The former generally states things directly from the passage. Be sure not to fall for GMAC's common traps (quoting something VERY similar, or "half truths", from the passge). "Inferred" questions require a greater understanding of the passage. Scan the passage for the overall meaning, and paraphrase each paragraph. While reading, look to answer basic questions around the tone of the passage (whether the author is mildly skeptical, supportive, critical, neutral etc), the logical structure of the passage (contrasting multiple viewpoints vs providing supporting arguments for a single viewpoint) etc.

CR -- Understand the different question types (weaken, strengthen, draw a conclusion etc). Also read up definitions on the different constituents of CR - assumption, consideration, inference, conclusion, premise, evidence etc. These are especially helpful for boldface questions. If you're weak in this section, I would recommend the PowerScore logical reasoning bible. A lot of people swear by it.

AWA -- Bookmark awa templates by Chineseburned at 1-t64327. Write out the outline during the tutorial. Spend about 5 minutes thinking through your key points. Treat the argument essay like an elaborate CR problem where you have to come up with potential answers. Approach it from different perspectives ("how can I break this argument?") and consolidate your responses in a draft using the AWA template.


Random Tips
1) If you're starting out, read all explanations from OG11 -- including those for wrong choices.

2) Process of elimination is critical, especially for harder questions

3) If you're a foreign national, don't forget to take your passport to the center.

4) OG11 is good for verbal, and just about decent for math.

5) I had also heard a lot about kaplan800 so decided to check it out. Definitely good, but didn't blow me away. Scanned through it and thought their CR strategies were decent. Some of their SC problems were good too. A lot of people find their math review section helpful - so check that out.

6) Timing strategy - I like to divide the exam into 5 segments of 15 minutes each. Consequently in verbal, I look to complete 8 questions every 15 minutes (75 -> 60 -> 45 -> 30 -> 15 -> 0). In math its roundabout the same. There may be a little trade-off due to large RC passages, but after a while, its best to re-adjust and move on rather than getting stuck on a particular question. I finished Math with about 10 minutes remaining and Verbal with about 4 (and I am rather slow on verbal)

7) Do both GMATPreps at least twice. This is absolutely the closest to the real thing.

Well, that's about it. Will be glad to answer questions.
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Last edited by incognito1 on 02 Oct 2008, 23:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 28 Sep 2008, 13:57
congrats man..i knew u wud do great
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 28 Sep 2008, 20:23
Congrats Incognito 1. You nailed it.
740 is an awesome score for the top 15 BSchools provided you prepare a good application package and essay.
good luck for application process.
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2008, 10:34
Thanks guys
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2008, 10:53
Hey, Awsome score, and your debrief is inspiring and very informative. Good luck with your apps!!
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 01 Oct 2008, 10:03
Thanks ventivish, appreciate the feedback
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 02 Oct 2008, 23:23
Got my AWA score - 5.5 (80%). Right about where I expected it, but the 80 percentile part is a little surprising.
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2008, 20:13
2 incognito

which level you started from? I mean what was you performance at the very beginning? did you have strong background in math or verbal part?

would apreciate any response
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2008, 10:17
kazakhb wrote:
2 incognito

which level you started from? I mean what was you performance at the very beginning? did you have strong background in math or verbal part?

would apreciate any response


kazakhb, I had a good handle on math before I started. My strategy was to brush up on math concepts (by spending an hour or so revising key topics) and then solve a lot of CATs and challenges.

Most of my preparation went into verbal, as that was my weakness. I found SCs to be my major weakness, but CRs and RCs were no strengths. I attribute my verbal score increase (mid-30s to ~40) to this preparation.
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2008, 17:42
Hi incognito 1,
was wondering when you recommended the powerscore LSAT logical reasoning bible, did you actually use it? How similar/different is it from the Powerscore GMAT Critical reasoning bible?
I found a post saying the two were similar and another one that says the two are completely different.
I would appreciate your comments.
Thank you.
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 16 Oct 2008, 10:05
ventivish wrote:
Hi incognito 1,
was wondering when you recommended the powerscore LSAT logical reasoning bible, did you actually use it? How similar/different is it from the Powerscore GMAT Critical reasoning bible?
I found a post saying the two were similar and another one that says the two are completely different.
I would appreciate your comments.
Thank you.


ventivish, I scanned through the powerscore LSAT logical reasoning bible and found it to be informative. But since CR was not my major weakness, I didn't feel the need to go through something as comprehensive as this guide. I read up the first 50 pages or so, and that gave me the baseline I needed. I imagine the rest are details for fine-tuning your skills (how to approach different kinds of stems, stimulus etc). So if someone is consistently getting a low score on CRs (less than 50% for example) or finds this to be his only major weakness in verbal, I would strongly recommend it, as the ROI can be significant.

I hear it's similar to the GMAT Critical reasoning one, but maybe someone who has compared both can confirm.
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 16 Oct 2008, 15:44
Thanks for your feedback. I probably will scan the book as well, do not want to miss out on useful resources. I have 1.5 month left for my exam so I guess i have time.
Once again thankyou!
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 20 Oct 2008, 07:21
Hey incognito1 ,
congrats on ur score :musband :good
Ur post is really informative !!740 is good !!!
one thing i would like to know is are the questions in GMAT from OG

since today i gave GMATprep2 and all the questions were from OG only
,is it suggested that we should give the test again ,twice since we will get same questions !!

yah one more thing can u give last moment tips of preparation just 2 days before GMAT!!!
congrats and all the very best for ur applications !!
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 20 Oct 2008, 12:45
spriya wrote:
Hey incognito1 ,
congrats on ur score :musband :good
Ur post is really informative !!740 is good !!!
one thing i would like to know is are the questions in GMAT from OG

since today i gave GMATprep2 and all the questions were from OG only
,is it suggested that we should give the test again ,twice since we will get same questions !!

yah one more thing can u give last moment tips of preparation just 2 days before GMAT!!!
congrats and all the very best for ur applications !!


Thanks spriya. GMATPrep does use some questions from OG. Also, if you're doing it more than once, you're definitely going to see some repeats. You will merely have to discount these in your final score calculation. My recommendation is to track how many repeats you get in all 5 areas and subtract only the ones you got correct (since sometimes we get repeats wrong too!) For instance, I scored a 760 on both my repeat GMATPreps but had about 7-8 repeats in each; if you discount these, you land up close to my actual score. I'm sure that this is not always the case, but I've seen it work for quite a few people.

Entering the exam, I felt I was going to score somewhere around 720 but it turned out to be better. I think realistic expectations are important. It's disappointing to prepare for a 650 and wishfully hope for a 750+, and end up scoring a... 650. Yes, we all wish to a certain extent but I think it's important to remain grounded as far as possible. So I would recommend adjusting expectations accordingly (for better or otherwise)

Two days before preparation, I took a GMATPrep test end-to-end with the AWA. I then spent the rest of the day analyzing my mistakes from this test. One day before preparation, I went over major math concepts, idioms and some difficult problems. I was quite anxious on this day, but on d-day, I felt just fine.

Good luck to you with the test. Let me know if I can help with any other questions.
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2008, 05:49
incognito1 wrote:
spriya wrote:
Hey incognito1 ,
congrats on ur score :musband :good
Ur post is really informative !!740 is good !!!
one thing i would like to know is are the questions in GMAT from OG

since today i gave GMATprep2 and all the questions were from OG only
,is it suggested that we should give the test again ,twice since we will get same questions !!

yah one more thing can u give last moment tips of preparation just 2 days before GMAT!!!
congrats and all the very best for ur applications !!


Thanks spriya. GMATPrep does use some questions from OG. Also, if you're doing it more than once, you're definitely going to see some repeats. You will merely have to discount these in your final score calculation. My recommendation is to track how many repeats you get in all 5 areas and subtract only the ones you got correct (since sometimes we get repeats wrong too!) For instance, I scored a 760 on both my repeat GMATPreps but had about 7-8 repeats in each; if you discount these, you land up close to my actual score. I'm sure that this is not always the case, but I've seen it work for quite a few people.

Entering the exam, I felt I was going to score somewhere around 720 but it turned out to be better. I think realistic expectations are important. It's disappointing to prepare for a 650 and wishfully hope for a 750+, and end up scoring a... 650. Yes, we all wish to a certain extent but I think it's important to remain grounded as far as possible. So I would recommend adjusting expectations accordingly (for better or otherwise)

Two days before preparation, I took a GMATPrep test end-to-end with the AWA. I then spent the rest of the day analyzing my mistakes from this test. One day before preparation, I went over major math concepts, idioms and some difficult problems. I was quite anxious on this day, but on d-day, I felt just fine.

Good luck to you with the test. Let me know if I can help with any other questions.

Oh yes thank u so much
ll let u know once im done with the test !!
:)
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2008, 13:21
Expert's post
Great news! Congrats and good luck with your application! :beer
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 26 Dec 2008, 20:31
Awesome debrief! congrats!
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 09 Jul 2009, 05:30
Congrats... wish you all the best with ur applications...
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 09 Jul 2009, 07:40
Congratulations!!

I really appreciate your contribution. Thank you.
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey [#permalink] New post 09 Jul 2009, 08:44
Hey incognito - That's an awesome score 50Q is just fantastic .. keep up the good work and prepare a good application package. As always the GC community is here to help. Good luck for the rest of the app journey.
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Re: 740 (Q50, V40) - My journey   [#permalink] 09 Jul 2009, 08:44
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